Copa America: Uruguay, US off to winning start

Darwin Nunez
Uruguay forward Darwin Nunez celebrates his goal. Photo: USA TODAY Sports/Sam Navarro via Reuters

Maximilian Araujo, Darwin Nunez and Matias Vina scored as Uruguay beat Panama 3-1 in their Copa America Group C match in Florida on Sunday.

Uruguay's win saw them move level with the United States on three points. The US beat Bolivia 2-0 in the day's other Group C match.

A third-minute goal from Christian Pulisic set the US on their way. Folarin Balogun added the second shortly before half-time and while the tournament hosts pushed for more goals in the second half they were unable to add to their tally.

Christian Pulisic
Christian Pulisic, left, and Bolivia's Luis Haquin fight for possession. Photo: USA TODAY Sports/Jerome Miron via Reuters

Marcelo Bielsa's Uruguay, who have won the Copa America a joint record 15 times, were rewarded for their blistering early pace when Araujo fired home a sublime curling effort from the edge of the area in the 16th minute.

Panama grew into the match after the break and wasted several chances to get themselves back into the contest.

Jose Fajardo blasted an effort wide in the 52nd minute after a defensive error by Mathias Olivera, while Jose Rodriguez tested Uruguay goalkeeper Sergio Rochet with a ferocious shot from range.

Asked what he said to his team at halftime, Panama coach Thomas Christiansen told reporters: "I told them they have to be fearless.

"That they have to increase their level of confidence. That they are capable to do what they did in the second half. And after the goal, like Uruguay, we generated opportunities."

Uruguay were on the ropes for much of the second half but Nunez, who had already missed a string of chances, settled their nerve in the 85th minute with a coolly-taken volley into the bottom corner after a rebound dropped kindly for him.

In a frenetic spell during stoppage time, Vina rose highest to head home Uruguay's third from a set-piece before Michael Amir Murillo netted a consolation goal for Panama after cutting back onto his left foot and curling his shot past Rochet.

Uruguay's all-time leading scorer Luis Suarez, 37, was an unused sub.

Uruguay next face Bolivia in New Jersey on Thursday, while Panama take on the US in Atlanta.

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